Saturday, October 10, 2015

Memory Crusades (being a strange romantic interterpretation)



Fatimid control of Jerusalem ended when it was captured by Crusaders in July 1099. The capture was accompanied by a 
massacre of almost all of the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants. Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. 
Godfrey of Bouillon, was elected Lord of Jerusalem on July 22, 1099, but did not assume the royal crown and died a year 
later.[

Clear water; like the salt of childhood tears,
the assault on the sun by the whiteness of women’s bodies;
the silk of banners, in masses and of pure lilies,
under the walls a maid once defended;

Christian settlers from the West set about rebuilding the principal shrines associated with the life of Christ. The 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre was ambitiously rebuilt as a great Romanesque church, and Muslim shrines on the Temple 
Mount (the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque) were converted for Christian purposes. It is during this period of 
Frankish occupation that the Military Orders of the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar have their beginnings.

the play of angels;—no…the golden current on its way,
moves its arms, black, and heavy, and above all cool, with grass.  She
dark, before the blue Sky as a canopy, calls up
for curtains the shadow of the hill and the arch.

II

Ah! the wet surface extends its clear broth!
The water fills the prepared beds with pale bottomless gold.
The green faded dresses of girls
make willows, out of which hop unbridled birds.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted until 1291; however, Jerusalem itself was recaptured by Saladin in 1187, who permitted 
worship of all religions

Purer than a louis, a yellow and warm eyelid
the marsh marigold—your conjugal faith, o Spouse!—
at prompt noon, from its dim mirror, vies
with the dear rose Sphere in the sky grey with heat.

In 1243 Jerusalem came again into the power of the Christians, and the walls were repaired. The Khwarezmian Empire took 
the city in 1244 and were in turn driven out by the Ayyubids in 1247. In 1260 the Mongols under Hulagu Khan engaged in 
raids into Palestine. It is unclear if the Mongols were ever in Jerusalem, as it was not seen as a settlement of 
strategic importance at the time. However, there are reports that some of the Jews that were in Jerusalem temporarily 
fled to neighboring villages.

III

In 1267 the Jewish Catalonian sage Nahmanides travelled to Jerusalem. In the Old City he established the Ramban 
Synagogue, the second oldest active synagogue in Jerusalem, after that of the Karaite Jews built about 300 years 
earlier.

Madame stands too straight in the field
nearby where the filaments from the work snow down; the parasol
in her fingers; stepping on the white flower; too proud for her
children reading in the flowering grass

After the Disputation of Barcelona, Nahmanides was exiled from Aragon, and in 1267 he made aliyah to the Land of Israel. 
In an alleged letter[6] to his son, he described the Jewish community of Jerusalem devastated by the Crusades:

their book of red morocco! Alas, He, like
a thousand white angels separating on the road,
goes off beyond the mountain! She, all
cold and dark, runs! after the departing man!

IV

Seventy two years old, he undertook the effort to rebuild the Jewish community and chose a ruined house on Mount Zion to 
reconstruct it as a synagogue. A number of Jews moved to Jerusalem after hearing of Nahmanides' arrival.

Longings for the thick young arms of pure grass!
Gold of April moons in the heart of the holy bed! Joy
of abandoned boatyards, a prey
to August nights which made rotting things germinate.

>From Cyprus, where they took refuge at the end of the Latin Kingdom, the Franciscans started planning a return to 
Jerusalem, given the good political relations between the Christian governments and the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt. 
Around the year 1333 the French friar Roger Guerin succeeded in buying the Cenacle[35] (the room where the Last Supper 
took place) on Mount Zion and some land to build a monastery nearby for the friars, using funds provided by the king and 
queen of Naples. With two papal bullae, Gratias Agimus and Nuper Carissimae, dated in Avignon, November 21, 1342, Pope 
Clement VI approved and created the new entity which would be known as the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Custodia 
Terrae Sanctae).

Let her weep now under the ramparts! the breath
of the poplars above is the only breeze.
After, there is the surface, without reflection, without springs, gray:
an old man, dredger, in his motionless boat, labors.

V

In 1517, Jerusalem was taken over by the Ottoman Empire and enjoyed a period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the 
Magnificent, including the construction of magnificent walls of what is now known as the Old City of Jerusalem (however, 
some of the wall foundations are remains of genuine antique walls).

Toy of this sad eye of water, I cannot pluck,
o! motionless boat! o! arms too short! neither this
nor the other flower: neither the yellow one which bothers me,
there; nor the friendly blue one in the ash-colored water.

By the 1860s, the city, with an area of only one square kilometer, was already overcrowded. Thus began the construction 
of the New City, the part of Jerusalem outside of the city walls. Seeking new areas to stake their claims, the Russian 
Orthodox Church began constructing a complex, now known as the Russian Compound, a few hundred meters from Jaffa Gate. 
The first attempt at residential settlement outside the walls of Jerusalem was undertaken by Jews, who built a small 
complex on the hill overlooking Zion Gate, across the Valley of Hinnom. This settlement, known as Mishkenot Sha'ananim, 
eventually flourished and set the precedent for other new communities to spring up to the west and north of the Old 
City. In time, as the communities grew and connected geographically, this became known as the New City.

Ah! dust of the willows shaken by a wing!
The roses of the reeds devoured long ago!
My boat still stationary; and its chain caught
in the bottom of this rimless eye of water,—in what mud?